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Catching up with Lon Kruger – Oklahoma vs. Baylor edition

by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: January 30, 2013
Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Oklahoma faces Baylor on Wednesday night for the Sooners second consecutive road game. Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger began the season talking about Oklahoma needing to be more aggressive. This week, when the media caught up with Kruger, he emphasized ball handling. The Sooners tip at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.

Media: If there was something you were trying to get out of Amath M’Baye, it seems like you have gotten that out of him.

Lon Kruger: Yeah, Amath is doing better all the time. I think he’s making jumpers. He’s attacking the rim. He’s making good plays defensively. Yeah, I think Amath’s doing a good job. I think, we’re going to see him get more and more comfortable as Big 12 goes on.

How much  confidence did you think you’d have to build with him over the season since this is a level he’s never been at?

Before the year started, didn’t really think about it that being a part of it all. Obviously in December, it became the biggest part of it all, but then again you never know what to expect exactly when things start in October, but that became a big factor for him. He works so hard. He’s so conscientious. He kind of burdened himself with doing everything great all the time and it just wasn’t happening for him. I think the best thing for him was he just kept working at it and plugging away and got himself back around.

Baylor is long and athletic. How does Amath compare to those guys?

Well, he’s still a lot shorter than they are, but again he’s a guy that will attack off the dribble and is making shots off the perimeter now. He’s one of our two inside guys so he’ll be matched up against one of their long, athletic guys.

You’re probably tired of talking about 7-footers after Saturday.

Withey was fantastic. He affected that game in a lot of ways.

Does 7-foot-1 Baylor freshman center Isaiah Austin affect it in different ways?

Yeah and Jefferson does too. He’s blocked twice as many shots as Austin. He’s a guy big around that rim too. But he and Austin together, you know, are shot blockers and Austin can move out and do a lot of different things on the floor.

Are there things you learned from the Kansas State and Kansas losses that you can apply going forward? 

I think the thing we’re pounding away on most is the value of each possession. You just can’t give away possessions against good teams, on the road especially, and expect to win a lot of them. You have to take good care of the ball. You’ve got to get good shots up. Got to do the same things defensively in terms of securing every rebound, every loose ball you possibly can. It seems like we had some balls on Saturday, for instance, that we didn’t quite get. We just have to get those and focus on each possession.


by Stephanie Kuzydym
Reporter
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
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